Unless you've been living in a reclaimed antebellum grist mill for the past year under a pile of bleached barnwood, you probably know that Brock is a nationally celebrated chef (and former Nashvillian) who's opening a spin-off to his original Husk in Charleston — which was named named Bon Appétit's best new restaurant of 2011 among heaps of other national praise.
In today's issue of the Scene, Chris Chamberlain shares the scoop leading up to this eagerly awaited opening.
And if you're interested in reservations, get cracking. At this writing, the online reservations page has no tables available until after 9 p.m. on June 9.
Husk Restaurant is at 37 Rutledge St. in a renovated Victorian house on Rutledge Hill, overlooking downtown. The phone number is 256-6565.
This year's edition will be held at 6:30 p.m., May 31, at the zoo, and the food and drink lineup is pretty darned impressive. Tennessee breweries represented include: Blackstone, Calfkiller, Chattanooga, Fat Bottom, Jackalope, Mayday, Turtle Anarchy, Hap & Harry's and Yazoo. Regional and national breweries on the roster include: Abita, Bluegrass (BBC), Blue Pants, Bridgeport, Brooklyn, Erie, Finch's, Flat 12, Good People, Green Flash, Highland, Kentucky Ale, Lagunitas, Left Hand, Lazy Magnolia, New Belgium, North Coast, Oskar Blues, Red Brick, Rivertown, Samuel Adams, Schlafly, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Southern Tier, Starr Hill, Straight to Ale, Sweetwater, Tenth and Blake, Terrapin and Crispin Cider.
A long list of food trucks will be on hand for attendees to fill their bellies. The Grilled Cheeserie, Hoss' Loaded Burgers, Riffs Fine Street Food, Wrapper's Delight, Biscuit Love, Smoke Et Al, Smokin Thighs, The Waffle Brothers, Yayo's O.M.G., Jenis, Gigi's Cupcakes and DoughWorks Craft Doughnuts will be parked and ready to feed the masses.
There are several different ticketing options including a $50 general admission that includes a souvenir tasting glass, and a $99 VIP level that offers access to a special VIP area that will feature six breweries with two special beers that are just for the VIP area. Each beer will be paired with small plates prepared by Whole Foods Market. Food in the VIP area is served during the entire duration of the event and is prepared and cooked fresh on site. Seating provided in the area. VIP guests also receive free rides on the carousel. Limited to 200 guests. Designated driver admissions are available for $20 if you want to join in the fun without partaking of the beverages.
The first class in the series focuses on Kurdish cooking, which is quite appropriate considering Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the entire country. The class will be taught by Najat Al Zahawi and Jennifer Justus. Students will learn to prepare biryani served with salad, flatbread, tea and arak, a Middle Eastern liqueur made with fermented dates. Najat will also share historical context and personal stories behind these dishes and why she chose them. The class will be held in a private home in East Nashville on Wednesday, June 5, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and costs $45.
Future Culture Kitchen classes promise to focus on the cuisine of Mexico, to learn about mole and tamales, as well as Bhutan, Honduras or Somalia. If you're interested in any of these classes, you can find out more and register at The Skillery's website.
I tried Duke’s. I want to be hip, I want to be cool, but I just can’t like Duke’s. It was okay in egg salad, but on my tomato sandwich and on its own, it was just too bland and a bit sour. I like Kraft. Hellman’s, too. Even Blue Plate (thanks, Tracey!). But I cannot abide Duke’s. My objection to it started #mayogate (dubbed as such by BJ Lofback of Riffs, who actually prefers Kewpie) on Twitter, as the Duke’s army put out a call of support. Within 24 hours, it became clear that Duke’s is the preferred mayonnaise around these parts. It’s got a solid base in the Carolinas and has been spreading across Tennessee, strangling out the others like it's the kudzu of mayo. Perfectly logical people — and even some Yankees — have indicated that, though raised on Kraft or Hellman’s, they are now firmly Team Duke’s.
So, what’s the difference? Duke’s is the only one of the big name brands that does not add sweetener. There’s a bit more vinegar in there, too. According to commenter, Wallace Powers, it’s more like homemade. But that really depends on where home is, now doesn’t it? Authentic Dutch and French mayonnaise (which I love on my frites) has no sugar (d’oh!). Kewpie mayo contains sweet vinegar and MSG (see?). As for homemade, the first result in my Google search yields Alton Brown’s recipe for mayonnaise. And there it is: sugar. A-ha! And who’s more Southern than Alton Brown? Oh, he’s from L.A.? Okay then, Paula Deen, maybe? Dammit, no sugar in her recipe.
Nevertheless, the south is a large region, and Nashville is right smack in the middle of it, so we’re going to have to learn to get along. Luckily, each one of our favorite mayonnaises are readily available all around town. And at least we can all agree that Miracle Whip is never the right choice.
Follow #mayogate on Twitter and weigh in on this very important matter there or leave a comment with your favorite.
The purpose of the garden was “to provide students and the surrounding community with hands-on experiences that would promote healthy lifestyle choices and an appreciation of where our food comes from.” Students, Hands on Nashville volunteers and community members grow produce, make their own compost and even raise chickens. Not only do they consume what they grow, in the past school year alone, more than 200 pounds of produce from the garden was donated to the Bellevue Food Bank.
The BELL Garden relies on community support to keep going, so they’re hosting a very special event on Friday, June 7. The event starts off with a wine tasting by Red Spirits and Wine at their store at 7066 Highway 70 S. in Bellevue and is followed by a dinner specially prepared by chef Martha Stamps — a very active advocate of healthy meals herself — that includes food from the garden. The dinner will take place in the heart of the garden —which includes an orchard as well as daylily and butterfly gardens — on the grounds of Bellevue Middle School at 655 Colice Jeanne Road. There will also be live entertainment, a silent auction and student-led tours of the farm. Guests get to see and experience exactly what their $100 per-person tickets support. See pictures here of last year’s inaugural event.
To learn more about the BELL Garden, check out their Facebook page. Not only can you follow the progress of the garden and see what’s currently growing and how you can participate, there’s also a lot of helpful information you can use for your own garden.
BELL Garden Dinner BELL
Friday, June 7, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Red Spirits and Wine: 7066 Highway 70 S.
Bellevue Edible Learning Lab at Bellevue Middle School : 655 Colice Jeanne Road
Tickets, $100 per person: bellgarden2 [at]gmail[dot]com
But JNN isn't satisfied with just serving their own brand of 'cue; they've activated Commissioner Gordon's Pig Signal to call together the all-stars of the Fatback Collective Competitive BBQ Team to help serve the masses. The team members include nationally noted pitmasters like Rodney Scott, Sam Jones and our own Pat Martin, as well as James Beard Award-winning chefs like John Currence and many other fabulous chefs like Raleigh's Ashley Christensen. Normally this team comes together to cook at competitions or charity events, but Bonnaroo 2013 will actually offer an opportunity to purchase their wares, as each chef prepares his or her specialty. Expect whole-hog from Messrs. Scott and Jones and brisket from Pat Martin. Other members of the Collective will prepare side dishes, desserts and other main dishes for purchase, with proceeds from all food sales going to the charities of the individual chef/members of the group.
To celebrate the inclusion of Jim 'N Nick's and the Fatback Collective, the team is giving away several pairs of full passes to Bonnaroo, and as locals, Nashvillians have extra chances to win. First of all, there is a national JNN contest you can enter at their national Facebook site by sharing photos of your favorite Jim 'N Nick's moment or memory. The contest runs until May 31, so you still have time to make a new memory to photograph if you don't already have one on Instagram.
But here's the cool part, since there are three JNN locations in the Middle Tennessee area, and we Nashvillagers are considered the most likely to actually be able to use these passes on short notice, Jim 'N Nick's is also giving away another set of tickets at the Nashville-area stores' collective Facebook page here.
And in even better news for your odds to win, keep an eye on this space and we might just have another chance for you to win tickets to Bonnaroo. There's no better place than Bites for all your Bonnaroo food news, so stay tuned.
Now like any barbecue festival, you're not going to get to eat any of the competitive teams' food unless you already know them, but there are plenty of food options and free tasting tents scattered around Tom Lee Park. Since Friday is the day when the teams cook "ancillary" categories like seafood, beef, chicken wings, exotic, etc., there's an even better chance that there might be some leftover for you to snack on if you ask nicely. On Saturday when they are competing in their specialty categories for the big money and hosting judges' visits, the cook areas tend to be little more serious.
Parking is easy to find in the area, especially on the south end of the park, where you'll pay $10-$20 for the day to make sure your car is safe and sound. The promenade along the Mississippi River is pleasant on any day, but when there are 250-plus barbecue teams partying in massive multi-story tents and pavilions, it's even more entertaining.
Locally, a team out of Hendersonville who call themselves Team Manwagon took ninth place in the prestigious Whole Hog category. Carey Bringle's Peg Leg Porkers team placed in two categories. He invited Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp of the acclaimed New Southern Soul Barbecue on St. Simon's Island in Georgia to join his merry crew of pitmaster pranksters this year, and the decision paid off in spades. Their lamb burger slider won 10th place for the team in the Exotic division, and after more than 20 years of competing at Memphis in May, Bringle finally brought home a trophy in the Pork Shoulder category, winning ninth place. This was Bringle's first win as the captain of his own team, although as a founding member of the Hog Wild team, he had three 2nds and a 9th. Judging is very intense and occasionally arbitrary at MiM, so winning any hardware is a big deal.
My colleagues over at the Nashville Post report that the new burger joint is going into the ground level of the Pine Street Flats apartment and retail development:
Jay Turner, managing director of Gulch master developer MarketStreet Enterprises, said Burger Republic’s local roots and creative concept make it “an ideal fit” for the fast-changing mixed-use urban district. MarketStreet is the developer of Pine Street Flats.
Burger Republic is owned by Drew Jackman — a Berklee College of Music grad who worked for Capital Restaurant Concepts in Washington, D.C., (Georgia Brown’s, Old Glory Bar-B-Que) before embarking on a corporate career at Logan’s Roadhouse and O’Charley’s. He joined with another industry veteran, Jeff Warne, former CEO of O’Charley’s, to found Burger Republic.
Jackman, who not only attended school in Boston but got his start in hospitality working in bars there, also announced that this Thursday, May 23, to commemorate the restaurant's one-year anniversary, Burger Republic will donate 20 percent of revenues to the OneFundBoston.org fund.
Here's what I wrote about Burger Republic's launch last year.
Organizers promised more local talent would be added, and they've already followed through by expanding the roster to include Philip Krajeck from Rolf & Daughters, Margot McCormack of Marché and Margot Café & Bar and Nick Pellegrino of Mangia Nashville. Even more additions are promised, but the mind already boggles at the thought of Nick Pellegrino mamboing with Chef Margot at the Flavors of Nashville event.
Before we feature our own chefs at Music City Eats, some of Nashville's finest will make their way south as guests at the third annual Atlanta Food and Wine Festival which runs from May 30-June 2. The schedule is jam-packed with seminars, chef dinners and a fabulous tasting tent, all of which feature at least a few Nashville chefs.
The Capitol Grille's Tyler Brown will be leading a seminar on Saturday, June 1, from 1 to 2 p.m. titled "CSA Box CPR" where he will teach attendees maximize the bounty of their box with some simple healthy recipes. At the same time (unfortunate scheduling dilemma), City House's Tandy Wilson will join Charleston's Matt and Ted Lee, Katie Button from Curate in North Carolina and Brandon Glamery from Florida as they discuss "What I Learned: Spain and Italy." Any one who has dined in any of these talented chefs' restaurants has benefited from the culinary souvenirs they brought back from their international travels.
On Sunday, June 2, Chris Carter and James Peisker of Porter Road Butcher will hold forth from 10 to 11 a.m. on the topic of the "Butcher Renaissance." They'll discuss "the growing renaissance of chefs becoming butchers and a rebirth of the local butcher shops that began disappearing after the development of mass refrigeration, as well as their commitment to locally sourced, pasture-raised animals and whole animal butchery."
I discovered during my visit that it’s really important to note that it’s more a coffee shop than a crepe restaurant. Still, I expected it to be a little more … French, I guess? The crepes — though fairly authentic, based on my memory of crepes in Paris — are more a vessel for other food than the star of the plate. What's served is basically sandwiches on crepes instead of bread. The menu is rather large; there are breakfast, savory, sweet or build-your-own options, but none are even vaguely reminiscent of a French crepe. Italian, Thai, and even Bacon Cheeseburger are all on the menu, but no Suzette. The closest to authentic is the Florentine on the breakfast menu.
Still, that’s not really a problem. There was one vegetarian option on the menu (aside from a build your own), but the Field of Greens (lettuce, red peppers, onions, tomato, mozzarella, basil aioli) just didn’t sound very appealing. I suppose I just expected something a little more inventive for vegetarian options. Or more French. Such as brie, apples and arugula, or maybe some roasted seasonal vegetables. Even a “Mediterranean style” with artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and feta would sem a little more interesting.
And definitely more cheese options with the build your own (gruyere, feta and goat cheese, perhaps) would help. I got just a basic cheese crepe (which had Monterey jack cheese as the base, which seems odd to me,) and it was good, but it didn’t take long to eat it and I was still hungry afterward. Tasty, but not satisfying.
Also, the crepes and their fillings are made to order, so it takes a while to get your food. That is very French. Though there was no one ahead of us, it took about 20 minutes to get our crepes. Not a problem if you’re leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee, but notsomuch if you’re already bordering on hangry by the time you arrive. That's not a criticism; it's just worth noting. I certainly don’t have a problem with a place that makes food to order.
All that said, my husband got the Thai crepe and loved it. It was huge and filling. And though the dessert crepes aren’t particularly authentic, they do look very tasty. Several people I know are regular customers and really enjoy the coffee and the food. And The Red Bicycle also offers gluten-free crepes for a small upcharge, which is pretty remarkable. As for beverages, they serve tea and smoothies in addition to coffee and offer flavor shots as well. Surprisingly, I didn’t see French or Italian sodas on the menu, though.
So, I think as long as you’ve managed your expectations, The Red Bicycle is worth checking out. It’s a cute little place and certainly seems a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Just be sure to check out the menu on their Facebook page (in the photos) before you go, which is clearly something I should have done.
The Red Bicycle
1200 Fifth Ave. N. (next to Germantown Café)
Monday-Friday: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
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Tonight's menu, in a photo from @HSeanBrock on Twitter:
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